Canada is set to win a record number of medals at the 2010 Winter Games, according to an academic who has accurately predicted Olympic medal counts since 2000.
"Canada for the first time ever will win the most Olympic medals of any nation at the Games, 27 medals," said Daniel Johnson, an associate professor of economics at Colorado College in Colorado Springs.
If Johnson is right, that total would improve on the 24 medals won in 2006 in Turin and it would put Canada at the top of the medal count in Vancouver.
The U.S. and Norway will finish with 26 medals each, according to Johnson's calculations.
The Canadian-born Johnson's accuracy rate is 94 per cent in medal-count forecasts he has made for the past five Olympic Games.
His model considers mostly economic indicators but Johnson said Canada has another huge edge in these Olympics in particular.
"Most importantly, we are the host. And there is an enormous home field advantage in hosting the Games."
Big investment in winning
The professor's predictions come amid campaigns such as Own The Podium which have pumped about $117 million since 2002 into developing winter sports champions in Canada.
"We've put a fair bit of money into top secret research to create new clothing, new sports equipment, new training techniques," said Own The Podium CEO Roger Jackson.
CBC play-by-play announcer Steve Armitage has used a more traditional performance-based system to pick the winners, but agreed with Johnson.
"We've got a [skating] dance team that should win gold. And Kevin Martin and his men's curling team — if they don't win gold, there should be an investigation," Armitage said.
Johnson's economic model does not apply to specific events and he will not dare a prediction on the men's or women's hockey medals.
But he said he is confident that Canada is positioned to come out on top at an Olympics for the first time ever.